No. 9 Maryland women cruise past Wake Forest

The Associated Press

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland bounced back from two straight uncharacteristically poor performances with a timely, feel-good victory.

Tianna Hawkins scored 18 points, Alyssa Thomas added 16, and the ninth-ranked Terrapins defeated Wake Forest 88-61 Sunday to end their first losing streak of the season.

Coming off losses to Top 25 foes Duke and Florida State, Maryland (23-6, 14-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 38-22 at halftime and coasted to its 14th straight win over the Demon Deacons (12-18, 5-13).

''Today was a lot of fun,'' Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. ''You saw us get back to Maryland basketball. I thought defensively we came out, played with some real good energy and defended real hard. Then I thought we were able to get our transition game going and really did a nice job sharing the basketball.''

Coming off a 16-point defeat at home against Duke and a 72-71 disappointment at Florida State, the Terrapins had five players score in double figures, including Sequoia Austin (15 points), Alica DeVaughn (14) and Malina Howard (13).

''We played real aggressive and with confidence, really making shots easier for one another,'' Frese said.

Maryland will receive a first-round bye in the ACC tournament, which gets under way Thursday. The Terrapins, who won the event last year, will be seeded either second or third.

''It doesn't matter. It's just a number in front of your name,'' Frese said. ''We know our body or work, we know what we did in conference play, so for us, it's just coming in with the mindset of being able to advance.''

Playing in her final regular-season home game, Hawkins grabbed 11 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season and 37th of her career. The 6-foot-3 senior forward leads the ACC in scoring and ranks second in rebounding.

''I'm very confident our team is going to make a run in the postseason,'' Hawkins said.

Thomas, the defending ACC Player of the Year, went 6 for 10 from the floor and had eight rebounds and seven assists.

Dearica Hamby scored 11 for the Demon Deacons, whose only lead was 3-2. Wake Forest, which lost by only 10 points to Maryland last month, concluded the regular season by dropping five of six.

But the Demon Deacons still have hope of playing well this week in North Carolina.

''At different times throughout the year we've talked about it as a team - when all cylinders are firing, we played very well,'' coach Jen Hoover said. ''We've got five seniors, it's going to be their last trip to Greensboro, and I know it means a lot to them. We've built some things together and I'm sure we're not ready for that to be over.''

Maryland led 38-25 early in the second half before Hawkins made a layup to ignite a 13-2 spurt that made it 51-27. DeVaughn scored five points during the run.

Hawkins and Thomas each scored 11, and Maryland shot 52 percent from the floor in the pivotal first half.

Wake Forest went 2 for 8 from the field with eight turnovers in the first 10 1/2 minutes while falling behind 17-5. During that span, the Terrapins received points from five different players, including four by Thomas during an 11-0 run.

''We just got after it defensively. We didn't let them get open shots,'' Thomas said. ''We tried to control the tempo early with them.''

After Asia Williams made a free throw for the Demon Deacons, Austin hit a jumper and scored off her own steal for a 21-6 advantage.

Wake Forest endured a stretch of 8 minutes, 20 seconds without a field goal before Sandra Garcia made a layup with 7:15 left in the half. Minutes later, Hawkins scored inside to spark a 6-0 burst that made it 32-13.

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